On Fantasy and Feeling (Regarding #Beasts of the Southern Wild)

[Edit:  Warning – Spoilers abound]

If ever there was a film that maximized sensation without devolving into spectacle, Beasts of the Southern Wild was it.  Barely.  It rides the line between poverty porn and social critique, but somehow never manages to lose balance and fall on one side or the other.  It takes children seriously.  Quvenzhane Wallis, the girl who plays Hushpuppy, deserves every one of the accolades she has received.  She made this movie.  Give that child an Oscar TODAY.

Beasts is effervescent with feeling.  Hushpuppy, Wink, and the people of the Bathtub feel everything and the film’s execution of that pleasure is surreal.  Their world is carnal and crimson.  Dirt, sweat, rain, sun, shelled shrimp, alcohol–everything is tactile.  One of the first scenes with the entire community is filled with sparklers, simulating the magic of fête and festival.  Miss Bathsheba teaches social studies using a tattoo of an Auroch on her thigh, a moment so viscreal for Hush Puppy that the beasts become symbolic of the chaos of the storm and her father’s impending death.  Even the crawfish are wet and lush, mouth watering.

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On Violence (From Denver to New York)

There is a suburb outside of Chicago named Aurora.  This is the closest I will probably ever get to the community near Denver that was hit by violence early this morning.

As someone suspended between fandom and archive, this incident is terrifying.  I can’t imagine the unreality of watching one of the darkest superhero movies of our generation, at midnight, and seeing a true villain come through the doors in full combat regalia with three guns and multiple tear gas projectiles.  It would have been traumatizing.  If this had been a practical joke gone wrong, if he’d done nothing but stand there and wave his guns around, it still would have made the news, he still would have been detained, and a psychiatric evaluation would still have been issued.  More than likely, he would have been charged with some misdemeanor for the awful shock he gave moviegoers young and old.  As Alisha Gaines noted on twitter, “it matters that many witnesses first thought is was ‘part of the movie.'”

But for this man to then open fire…in a theatre filled to capacity…in the dark….

I have nightmares around scenarios like this.

And when I heard this was happening in New York, I didn’t feel better.  I felt worse.

There is no question that all of my thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims, the survivors, their kin, and with the city itself.  But there is also no question that in a city where the mayor and police department are under fire for using ‘Stop and Frisk’ to harass, beat, and kill young black and Latin@ residents, increasing the police presence doesn’t make me feel safe.

It makes me feel terrorized.

Who do we think they will target first if they (think they) see something amiss at the movies this weekend?  How many young people will be killed and how many more will be frisked, placed in handcuffs, or publicly intimidated and made to feel violated and shamed in the name of public safety?

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Interlude: The #SableFanGyrl Dances to the Noisettes

Remember when we were talking black lady silhouettes and other sundries not too long ago?  Aker over at Futuristically Ancient posted the Noisettes video for their new single “Winner.”  Screenshot gallery below:

I love how Shingai Shoniwa is front and center against dancers who, in black from head to toe, aren’t identifiable as either male or female, black, white or green.  And I love her repeated fist pumping, probably because it brings to (my) mind a Black Power salute.

The lyrics themselves are pop-happy, Katy Perry-approved empowerment.  Peep the first verse below:

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Abortion, Reality TV & Women of Color

This is a guest post by Bianca of Latino Sexuality and of The LatiNegr@s Project. I’ll be cross-posting and blogging! Read a bit more about me when we introduced The LatiNegr@s Project team.

originally posted at my RH Reality Check colum

I’m still surprised I’ve grown up with cable (now I can’t afford it so I watch some shows online) and that Vh1 is one of the main sources where communities of Color, especially women of Color are represented. Vh1 has really changed their image; back in my youth, the channel represented the almost exclusively racially white “soft rock” genre and limited R&B songs by the people to whom I listened. Today, Vh1 represents me, which is a huge shift from what I remember. Not only do they represent me as a woman of Color, but as a LatiNegra. They have more LatiNegras on their shows than any other channel I can think of (i.e. La La’s Full Court LifeBasketball Wives).

This post isn’t about how problematic or limiting these shows are today. That’s been written about by some of my favorite LatiNegra writers and media makers. Although I must share that I really appreciated when Tami and Evelyn went to get mammograms together at their doctor and wished I wrote about that and the importance of this scene at the time. Instead, I want to focus on a new theme I’m seeing emerge on the new show Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta. This series is the first time the show has been aired outside of New York. The last several seasons have focused on women of Color who are in the Hip Hop community in some form and residing in NYC.

This new series is in Atlanta. There’s been a lot going on and in just the second episode there is an unplanned pregnancy. One of the women, an up and coming performer named Joseline, who is Latina (not sure if she identifies as a LatiNegra), takes a pregnancy test and it is positive. At the end of episode two she shares that she is pregnant with the baby of her manager/producer/lover who also is in a relationship with another woman and has a child who Joseline knows about and still chose to be “the other woman.”

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Who Fears Death? (#PhDflow)

Who indeed?

The dissertation is submitted.  Let the hips shake.  Let the libations flow.  Let the words return.  (Lawd, let the words return)

My life belongs to me again.  I am a free woman of color.

Now…now….

…the real trouble-making begins.

(you are not ready)

Kismet Nuñez became a Ph.D. today.

There is so much goodness to come.  Please stay tuned for it.

I am accountable to YOU.

And I definitely could do none of this without you.  #gratitude

#wepa